At the “Lobby of the Hardest Hit”, Emily met thirty members of Disability Action Islington and challenged David Cameron over his Secretary of State’s claim that there would be no cuts to frontline social care services as a result of his government’s reckless cuts.
Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, claimed last December that there was no need for councils to cut frontline services – but Emily has discovered that 88% of councils will be increasing their charges for care services and 63% will be closing care homes and day centres.
Emily told the Islington residents:
“With 88% of councils increasing their charges for care services and 63% closing care homes and day centres, David Cameron can’t look in the eye the people who are being hardest hit by his government and tell them there will be no cuts to frontline services.
The government is wrong to look at the benefits budget with the explicit intention of cutting 20% rather than assessing each case on its merit. Even this government is not claiming that 20% of disability claimants will get well overnight.
David Cameron may say we are all in this together, but it’s clear from his actions that those who most need help are being hardest hit.”
The government no longer measures the provision of social care across Local Authorities, so Emily surveyed 154 Directors of Adult Services in England to ask how their Councils were coping and their plans for the future.
Of the authorities who responded, 88% said that they were intending to increase charges. A quarter of these were pegging increases to inflation, but the others were introducing new and additional charges, raising or abolishing the maximum contribution from service users, or making other increases in charges. Several Councils said that they had no alternative but to increase charges.
63% of respondents were closing care homes and/or day centres. Many simply confirmed that they would be closing homes in the next couple of years, however some indicated that these closures were part of a planned reconfiguration of services, with reprovision being offered in a more cost-effective way, or with more emphasis on services in residents’ homes.